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Ryan won't name starting QB until Friday

New York Jets quarterback Kellen Clemens (11), and

New York Jets quarterback Kellen Clemens (11), and New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6), chat briefly during warmups before a game against the New York Giants. Credit: Photo by John Dunn

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - He looked better in practice than he did the day before, and even increased his workload by 25 percent.

He didn't report any pain and there wasn't any swelling in his right knee, both indicators his sprained PCL is healing nicely. His coach also thought he practiced with more confidence and liked what he saw from the $50-million rookie quarterback Thursday.

Despite all that, Rex Ryan wasn't ready to proclaim Mark Sanchez as the starter for Sunday. Instead, he preferred to err on the side of caution Thursday and wait to make that call sometime Friday after conferring with team doctors.

"I want to wait it out, but again, it's more the medical opinions than my own opinions," Ryan said. "I'm not going to sit back and say, 'Hey, he's fine.' I'd like to say that, but I think it's probably in the kid's best interest and our team's best interest that our medical staff agrees with that. I can look at him. He looks good to me. That's great, but I'm not a professional in that. I'll definitely leave this decision to our medical staff."

"I just want to make sure he feels fine in the morning," Ryan added. "[I don't want] him to be limited enough to where he thinks it's a hindrance for him to be out there. I want to make sure that he's ready to play quarterback and doesn't hurt himself or this football team."

Sanchez, wearing braces on both knees, practiced in full a day after being limited and took 75 percent of the reps on the advice of the doctors. Normally a starter - especially a rookie - takes all the reps, but backup Kellen Clemens took the other 25 percent just in case Sanchez can't go.

"If I was really sure that Mark was going to be the guy, then I would have given him 100 percent," Ryan said. "I'm telling you that I'm not 100 percent sure whether he's ready for this task or not."

Sanchez appeared to be moving without any limitations early on in practice. He whipped the ball around to his various receivers during drills, showing he's quickly knocking the rust off after practicing for two consecutive days.

"He looks good," offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. "The things he did today, he made a lot of good throws, he moved around a little bit. He feels comfortable with the braces that he's got. After two days of work, the question is how does he feel tomorrow? That's what they are waiting to see."

Still, Ryan hedged a bit when asked if a physical setback was the only thing that can derail Sanchez beginning the game under center.

"I don't think a setback is really the right thing," he said. "Again, I hate to say it, because I know it's not typical for me to do this. But I just want to make sure that this is the right decision. I want to make darn sure. If it takes a few more hours to make that decision, then that's fine. I don't want to just go out there and say one thing and the kid's not ready to go. It's a poor decision. I'd rather just wait."

Notes & quotes: Falcons QB Matt Ryan (toe), RB Michael Turner (ankle), DE John Abraham (illness) and DT Jonathan Babineaux (shoulder) practiced in a limited capacity Thursday.

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